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Thai Government Bonds Advance on Fed Stimulus Bets; Baht Steady

Thailand’s 10-year government bonds rose after first-quarter growth figures from the U.S. trailed estimates, spurring speculation the Federal Reserve may hold off from reducing its monetary stimulus.

The world’s largest economy expanded at a revised 1.8 percent rate in the first three months of 2013, official data showed yesterday, down from a prior estimate of 2.4 percent. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said June 19 the central bank may trim its $85 billion a month of bond buying this year and end it in 2014 as long as the economy performs in line with its projections. The purchases, known as quantitative easing, have fueled demand for developing-nation stocks and bonds.

“Speculation of a delay in reduction of QE is positive for emerging-market assets,” said Tsutomu Soma, manager of Rakuten Securities Inc.’s fixed-income business unit in Tokyo. “All eyes are on the U.S. data to determine outlooks for U.S. monetary policy.”

The yield on the 3.625 percent bonds maturing in June 2023 dropped nine basis points, or 0.09 percentage point, to 3.87 percent as of 3:24 p.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate has climbed 33 basis points since the end of March, headed for the worst quarter since the first three months of 2012.

Thailand’s finance ministry cut its 2013 growth forecast to 4 percent to 5 percent, Somchai Sujjapongse, director-general of the fiscal policy office, said today at a press conference in Bangkok. The previous estimate was 4.8 percent to 5.8 percent.

The baht strengthened 0.1 percent to 31.13 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency has fallen 6 percent this quarter, the worst performance since September 2000. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, declined 35 basis points to 7.54 percent.

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